Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

2022 Members and Visitors Guide for the Punta Gorda Area

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Page 36 of 143

2022 Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce Members & Visitors Guide Page 37 The tiny least tern has a charming courtship ritual, in which the male offers a small fish to a potential mate as he puffs his chest and dances around her. If she takes it, they bond. She typically lays three eggs in a shallow scrape of sand and shells. After three weeks or so, the chicks hatch. For their first three days, they stay near the nest, cuddled together in the "nest" — just a depression in the sand. Both parents provide protection and fish until the chicks are able to fly, about three weeks later. This diminutive bird is a fierce protector of its young. I've watched colonies dive-bomb herons and humans who wander too near. WATCHFUL PARENTS The black skimmer skims water with the lower part (mandible) of its orange bill submerged. When it touches anything, the upper bill (maxilla) snaps shut. This seabird is twice as large as the least tern. Like the terns, both parents share in the care of their young. Defenseless chicks leave protected areas to explore their new world. Populations of beach nesting shorebirds and seabirds have declined in Florida, due primarily to habitat loss and human disturbance. We can share the beach and protect our beach nesting birds. It's easy. Stay out of designated nesting areas, and try to avoid approaching too close. Please teach children not to chase or feed shorebirds and seabirds, who need to rest or tend their fragile young. Bring your dog only to beaches where they're permitted, and keep it on a leash in case there are young birds nearby. Mary Lundeberg is a local photographer and nature writer. Contact her at MaryLundeberg@ gmail.com. See more of her photos at MaryLundeberg.com. WaterLine photo by Mary Lundeberg A least tern between a chick and an egg that hasn't yet hatched. 941.625.PLAY (7529) CharlotteCountyFL.gov in Punta Gorda! Punta Gorda Charlotte Library Children's Area Parks that Teach Guided Tours South County Regional Park adno=3824053-1

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